One thing that always baffles me about disagreements is how readily people fabricate things. I'm not sure what causes it, and I imagine it isn't (usually) done consciously. Still, it happens all the time. For instance, yesterday I was in a chat room when I said something to the effect of:

I was going to say, "You idiot," but I was worried you wouldn't get the joke.

In what followed, a person said I was hostile and rude because I called them an idiot. Obviously, that's not a fair depiction of what I said. It didn't matter though. Their view didn't change a single iota even when I pointed out I specifically labeled the phrase a joke (it was meant as a joke about how I wasn't being hostile by showing what hostility could be).

That incident wasn't important, but it did create an interesting mindset for me when I was reading a few things today. You see, this sort of thing happens all the time, and usually, people don't say a word about it. Today I happened to see two obvious cases of such, and I wanted to share. Part of my motivation is just that I find this sort of thing interesting. The other part is I find it incredibly obnoxious that global warming "skeptics" would post obvious fabrications and not get called out.

I saw the first example when I was checking Watts Up With That to see if the comment I showed in my last post was ever published. It wasn't. I don't know why my comment has never appeared. I just find it troubling when I post comments critical of posts on a site and have them vanish into the ether.

In any event, when I went to check to see if that comment had gone through, I accidentally went to the wrong post. It turns out there was a newer post that also discussed the "fact checking" organization Politifact, and I didn't notice it was a different one. I decided to go ahead and read it though since I was already there. When I did, this jumped out at me:

Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature“ by John Cook et al (Environmental Research Letters, 22 April 2013) looked for studies that “implied that humans were causing global warming”.

I've spent quite a bit of time criticizing the paper being referenced here. As a result, I immediately knew this quote was fake. The paper never said the words "“implied that humans were causing global warming.” When I looked into where the quote came from, the only places I could find that phrase being used were writing by the same person, like here. Apparently, this author decided to take this phrasing from the paper, given as a description for a single classification category used in the paper:

Implies humans are causing global warming. E.g., research assumes greenhouse gas emissions cause warming without explicitly stating humans are the cause

And somehow altered it to say:

implied that humans were causing global warming

I imagine some people would say this change is trivial and doesn't impact anything, but altering quotes like this is inexcusable. If the author had wished to alter the phrasing to fit his needs, he shouldn't have included the quotation marks. Alternatively, he could have labeled it a paraphrase.

He didn't. I don't get that. I also don't get how his earlier writing with this fake quote has been around for almost a year without anyone noticing this alteration. That is particularly true since Politifact wrote an article which involved "fact checking" his piece. One might naively hope fact-checkers would find fake quotes, but... I guess not.

Anyway, the second example I'd like to highlight is this series of tweets by Joe Bastardi which were retweeted by several people on my timeline. They were even retweeted by at least one big name skeptic," Marc Morano:

These tweets Are obviously wrong. If one clicks on the link Bastardi provides, this is found:

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 69% of Likely U.S. Voters oppose the government investigating and prosecuting scientists and others including major corporations who question global warming. Just 15% favor such investigations, while just as many (16%) are undecided.

Maybe people will say the difference between 31% and 15% is immaterial (though to the user who worries the number might break 50%, it clearly isn't). I don't think it is, but I also don't think that matters. The point here is anyone who bothered to read this source would see these tweets are wrong. In both of these examples, the writer provided a link to the very material that shows them wrong. It's bizarre.

Before I wrap up, I want to point out an interesting element to this survey. It turns out while 15% of people surveyed said they support these investigations, only 21% of Democrats said they do. That means nearly 10% of Republicans said they support these investigations. That seems strange.

I don't know if there is perhaps some methodological problem where people's answers aren't accurate (maybe some people don't even think about the question?), but if not, one in ten likely voters who self-identify as Republicans support these investigations. One in five likely voters who self-identify as Democrats do. I would not have anticipated the gap would be that small.

I don't really have anything else to say right now. I just wanted to highlight these two examples because I think they demonstrate a trend I've watched for a long time. It seems no matter how obviously wrong what a person says might be, they can often get away with saying it. Combine that with how readily people resort to these sorts of fabrications, and you have a recipe for all sorts of problems.

One comment

  1. I'm pretty pleased to find this website. I wanted to thank
    you for ones time just for this wonderful read!! I definitely savored every little bit
    of it and I have you book-marked to look at new information in your site.

    Can I just say what a comfort to find someone that truly knows what they are discussing on the internet.
    You definitely realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important.
    A lot more people should look at this and understand this side
    of the story. I can't believe you aren't more popular since you surely have the gift.

    Good article. I absolutely love this site. Keep it up!

    It’s nearly impossible to find knowledgeable people in this particular
    topic, however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about!

    You ought to be a part of a contest for one of the best
    websites online. I'm going to recommend this web site!

    An intriguing discussion is worth comment. I do think that you ought to publish more about this subject, it may not be a taboo subject but
    typically people don't talk about such issues. To the next!

    Hello there! I just would like to offer you a huge thumbs up for your great info
    you've got here on this post. I am returning to your blog for more soon.

    When I initially commented I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me
    when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment
    is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there an easy method you can remove me from that service?

    Next time I read a blog, Hopefully it does not disappoint me
    as much as this one. After all, I know it was my choice to read, however I truly thought you would have something helpful to say.
    All I hear is a bunch of complaining about something you could possibly
    fix if you weren't too busy searching for attention.

    Spot on with this write-up, I absolutely believe that this amazing site needs a lot more attention. I’ll probably be back again to see more, thanks
    for the advice!

    You're so awesome! I do not believe I've read anything like this before.
    So wonderful to discover somebody with unique thoughts on this issue.
    Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This
    web site is something that is required on the internet, someone with some originality!

    I enjoy reading through a post that will make people think.
    Also, thank you for allowing me to comment!

    This is the perfect webpage for anybody who wishes to understand this topic.
    You know so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want
    to…HaHa). You definitely put a fresh spin on a topic
    which has been written about for ages. Wonderful stuff, just wonderful!

    Aw, this was a very nice post. Taking a few minutes
    and actual effort to make a good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a
    whole lot and never seem to get anything done.

    I’m impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I encounter a blog
    that’s both equally educative and interesting, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head.
    The problem is something which too few men and women are speaking intelligently about.
    I'm very happy I stumbled across this in my
    hunt for something regarding this.

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thanks, However I am having troubles with your RSS.
    I don’t know why I can't subscribe to it. Is there anybody
    else having similar RSS problems? Anybody who knows the solution will you kindly respond?


    An outstanding share! I've just forwarded this onto a colleague who has been doing a little research on this.
    And he in fact bought me breakfast simply because I discovered it for him...

    lol. So let me reword this.... Thank YOU for the
    meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending some time to talk about this issue here on your site.

    After looking over a handful of the blog posts on your website,
    I really like your technique of writing a blog.
    I saved it to my bookmark site list and will be checking
    back soon. Take a look at my website too and tell me what you think.

    This web site certainly has all the information and facts I wanted
    about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

    There's certainly a lot to learn about this issue.
    I like all of the points you made.

    You have made some good points there. I checked on the internet for additional
    information about the issue and found most people will go along
    with your views on this web site.

    Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon everyday.

    It's always helpful to read through articles
    from other authors and practice something from their websites.

    I blog frequently and I genuinely thank you for your content.

    This article has really peaked my interest.
    I'm going to take a note of your site and keep checking for new information about once per week.
    I subscribed to your Feed as well.

    Pretty! This has been an extremely wonderful article.
    Thank you for providing this information.

    Greetings! Very helpful advice within this post! It is the little changes that produce the
    largest changes. Thanks for sharing!

    Howdy! This blog post could not be written any better!
    Going through this post reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He always kept preaching about this. I am going to forward this information to him.
    Fairly certain he'll have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

    Howdy, I do believe your site might be having internet browser
    compatibility issues. Whenever I look at your website in Safari,
    it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it's
    got some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to provide you with a quick heads
    up! Apart from that, great blog!

    Having read this I believed it was very informative. I
    appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this content together.
    I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and
    commenting. But so what, it was still worth it!

    Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but
    after going through a few of the articles I realized it’s new to
    me. Regardless, I’m definitely pleased I came across it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking
    back often!

    I want to to thank you for this excellent read!!
    I absolutely enjoyed every little bit of it. I have you bookmarked to check out new
    things you post…

    Hi, I do believe this is an excellent blog. I stumbledupon it
    😉 I'm going to revisit once again since I book-marked it.
    Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue
    to guide other people.

    Your style is so unique compared to other folks I have read stuff from.
    Thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark
    this blog.

    I used to be able to find good info from your blog posts.

    Excellent post! We are linking to this great article on our site.
    Keep up the good writing.

    That is a great tip especially to those new to the blogosphere.
    Short but very accurate information… Thank you for sharing this one.
    A must read article!

    I could not resist commenting. Well written!

    bookmarked!!, I love your site!

    Very good post. I will be dealing with a few of these issues
    as well..

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this article plus the rest
    of the site is really good.

    Good site you have got here.. It’s difficult to find high quality writing like yours nowadays.
    I seriously appreciate people like you! Take care!!

    This is a topic that is near to my heart... Take care!
    Where are your contact details though?

    I really love your website.. Great colors & theme. Did you create this web site yourself?

    Please reply back as I’m attempting to create my own personal blog and would like to
    learn where you got this from or just what the theme is
    called. Kudos!

    Everyone loves it when people come together and share opinions.
    Great blog, continue the good work!

    Great information. Lucky me I came across your blog by chance (stumbleupon).

    I have bookmarked it for later!

    This website was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something that helped me.


    Everything is very open with a precise description of the challenges.
    It was definitely informative. Your website is very helpful.
    Many thanks for sharing!

    I must thank you for the efforts you've put in writing this
    blog. I'm hoping to check out the same high-grade blog posts by you in the
    future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired
    me to get my own, personal blog now 😉

    Have a look at my web-site - เพิ่ม pagespeed

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *